Developing Technique Combinations in Jiu-Jitsu

Omoplata Combinations

John B. Will blogged "Mission Control", a post about building technique combinations.  He made mention of Eddie Bravo’s system and how it has a starting point to move into different techniques and submissions.  In Eddie’s book Mastering The Rubber Guard he has a excellent flow chart that shows how it all works together.  SlideyFoot talks about Roy Dean – Purple Belt Requirements and how he teaches a combination mindset.  Rigan Machado has turned me on to some combo’s in his "RCJ Machado Jiu-Jitsu Camp 2008" DVD’s.  I must have reached a new level in my game.  All of the sudden these not only made sense but I can flow from one to the other.  Lets just say I’ve really turned on to combos.  I picked a set out and drilled it on my Submission Master Grappling Dummy.  Once I felt confident enough to teach it, I found someone at the academy to train it with.  Blake and I put in some reps together.  This helped build my confidence in using it against someone other then my grappling dummy.  I got to try it out the next class.  It went splendid.  I even got one of the submissions in the combo against Blake who knew it was coming.  I can see how memorizing single submissions, then combinations of submission can build you a network of movement.  Over time it will build in my mind like Eddie’s flow chart.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu.

The Many Faces of Jiu Jitsu

bang-you-dead-face  smelly-feet-face class-pictures

I’ve been noticing that every BJJ book or DVD I have has a Jiu Jitsu face some where on it or in it.  What’s a Jiu Jitsu face you ask?  Its the face that is intended to show action, pain, struggle, intensity, power, or just how tough you are.  Unfortunately most of them make me laugh.  From left to right I have named these "Bang You Dead Face", "Smelly Feet Face", and "Bed Head Face".  Can it get any better then this?

I couldn’t be left out!  All the greats have a Jiu Jitsu face.  Its not my fault I don’t have a DVD or book to put it on.  So I took my trusty iPhone and captured my Jiu Jitsu face.

My-Jiu-Jitsu-Face Rigan-Machado-Me-Mad

As you compare me with Rigan Machado when it comes to Jiu Jitsu faces, really who are you going to be scared of?  Me!  Rigan just looks mildly annoyed.  I look like, like, like . . . your head is going to come off in my Rear Naked Choke.  Of course I’ll have to practice my face a little more but wait until I reveal it in class next week.  I’ll get my opponent to tap even if its because he can’t stop laughing.

Send me your Jiu Jitsu face or a favorite from a book or DVD.  I have create a "Faces of Jiu Jitsu" page.


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Hit’em High and Hit’em Low, Leg Locks Are The Way to Go

During class last month my instructor, Mark, said you should be attacking high and low.  When your arms are bound up then you should be working with your legs to get sweeps, create space, or anything that will increase your position.  Like wise if you legs aren’t being effective then work with your arms.  I’ve taken this to heart and tried to remember to move my mental focus to the part of the battle where it can be most effective.  In doing so I realized I didn’t know any leg attacks.  This has led me find 5 leg locks that I think are a good starting point to build my arsenal.  All of them come from Encyclopedia of Leg Locks (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) by Rigan Machado.  Last night at class we went over some more purple belt test techniques.  After class I got two of the more experienced guys to go over one particular leg lock with me so I could get a good feel for it.  One disadvantage to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy is he feels no pain.  I get good reps on him but I first have to make sure I’m doing the technique right.  In keeping with my idea to give techniques more memorable names, I have dubbed this one "Cobra in the Grass".  It is found on page 60 of Encyclopedia of Leg Locks.  The below videos show the "snake" motion I use to get the first part of the leg lock.

"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 1
"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 2
"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 3

These give you the idea of how to get the legs.  After that you need to get your knee on the belly that is opposite the arm that is holding the legs.  You do this by controlling the hip on the same side as the arm that has the legs.  Once you have the knee in the belly you lay back and swing the opposite leg around the opponents hip.  If they don’t straighten their leg you will get a calve cutter right off and if they do then you roll into the straight leg to get the leg lock.  I know my description isn’t the best.  I’ll try to get video of it next class.

Rigan Machado Chokes and Leglocks DVDs

I am a big fan of Rigan Machado.  I’ve decided to gather a collection of his DVDs that I can find.  It seems there aren’t that many or that they aren’t sold any more.  I just got his "Master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Chokes and Leglocks" DVDs.  I was really excited and sat down to watch them.  I was hoping to see some of the leglocks in greater detail from his book Encyclopedia of Leg Locks (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).  I was disappointed in more then one way.  They didn’t show the leglocks I wanted to see and second the video was armature.  I think Rigan did a excellent job of explaining and demonstrating but it just wasn’t up to what I was used to with Saulo Ribeiro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Revolution Series One. Six Volume DVD Instructional Series for Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts.  The Chokes DVD was ok too but once again it didn’t have the professional touch to it.  I’ll keep them because as I’ve learned the more I grow in Jiu-Jitsu the more I see in a technique.  Maybe this is so advanced I don’t really see the true worth of it.  Rigan did a good deal in heal hooks with I don’t have any experience in.  I don’t know.  For now I can’t recommend them.

Triangle Every Which Way But Loose!

I have to say that the Triangle Choke is in the top 10 of my favorite submission techniques.  I have been searching high and low for a copy of Rigan Machado’s book and DVD titled "Triangle".  While searching I came across this awesome demonstration of the Triangle Choke by Rigan.

Rigan Machado – Triangle Choke

You have to admire his technique.  I never thought of folding the leg over the arm to pass it.  He is as smooth as silk.  Then the spin to Triangle, wow!  To look at him you might wonder if he is in adequate physical shape and then you see him move.  He is a true master.  I like how he uses his leg to move the arm forward.  He knows how to use technique instead of brute force.  The other night I had a guy set up for a Triangle Choke but I couldn’t get the arm forward.  I wish I had seen this before hand.  I’ll work on it and maybe next time, eh?!

If anyone knows where I might buy a copy of the Triangle book and DVD please let me know.  I hear it is really good.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu.

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Finding a First Sports Hero in BJJ

When I was growing up I didn’t pay that much attention to sports.  The first real figure I remember was Robby Bosco who played quarterback for BYU.  I only thought he was cool because he autographed a piece of paper for me and my Dad seemed to think he was cool.  As I grew up I liked figures like Michele Jordan but felt they didn’t have all the qualities I wanted in a sports hero.  I’m 39 now and thought myself far passed idolizing a sports hero until Rigan Machado came along.  I’m not saying I’m sold yet.  He is holding a seminar in Utah on March 6th (January 30th Seminar was moved).  I’m going to it of course.  I’ve got to meet him in person.  I’ve read and heard so many first hand accounts about him.  I want to see if he is as humble and great as they say.  To often people who are in the spotlight get mauled with affection and more, hence the paparazzi.  They become mean and in my opinion with good reason.  Some become spoiled and arrogant.  Its kind of like that old saying "Total power totally corrupts".  All that attention and fawning changes them for the worst.  I hope to find out that Rigan Machado is everything he has been made out to be.  If so, I think I just found my first sports hero in BJJ and Rigan Machado.

Book Review of Rogue Black Belt – Book Two By John B. Will

A little while back I did a review on John B. Will’s Book "Rogue Black Belt – Book One".  I have since got "Rogue Black Belt – Book Two" and read it.  Mr. Will picks up were he left off in book one and keeps moving on at a amazing pace.  I know that this books spans years but it feels like it happens in a few months.  Any one who goes to  Mr. Will’s website knows he teaches Machado BJJ.  In book two we learn all about how he got started.  If you are a Aussie and want to know how BJJ came to Australia you need to read this book.  It is a important history also of the rise of BJJ in America.  Mr. Will has a first hand account concerning important events in the lives of Rorion Gracie and Rigan Machado.  He meet Renzo Gracie when he was a brown belt and talks about time spent with the Gracies and their cousins the Machados, in Brazil.  I was very interested in their training practices and philosophies at the time Mr. Will was introduced to BJJ.  As before the book is packed with practical advice and life lessons Mr. Will learned along the way.  It made me long to back my bags move to Brazil and train.  Its a great book.  You will enjoy reading it if you are a fan of any martial art.

The Greatest is the Least in Jiu Jitsu

We live in a society of multi-million dollar sport super stars.  Their spoiled arrogant behavior is shown often on the nightly news.  They are highlighted in newspapers and magazines as they face criminal and civil charges.  The sad thing is they are idolized by millions.  They have skill and technique that have brought them fame but they lack the other half that truly makes them great.  As I read John Will’s post about Chuck Norris and Rigan Machado I read about that other half.  I’m talking about humility, kindness, generosity, . . . the list goes on.  John Will may have trained many time with Chuck Norris and Rigan Machado.  What does he remember?  Oh, I’m sure he has improved his martial arts from working with them.  What he really got was a lesson in being truly great.  I am sure he would say it was a privilege to be in their company.  To be in the company of someone that is great but is the least is what will make them legends never to be forgotten.  Sports super starts come and go.  They are forgotten as others with great sports prowess rise into the lime light.  Those that are never forgotten are the ones like John Will says "with a heart of gold". Rigan Machado is coming to Utah in January .  After reading John’s post I can’t wait to be there.

Rigan Machado comes to Utah

I just got news that Rigan Machado will be giving a seminar on January 30th here in Utah.  He is a 8th degree black belt and nephew of Helio Gracie.  He was the first black belt awarded by Carlos Gracie Jr.  I’m really excited to go.  I am still feeling bad that I miss out on Andre Galvao when he came to Unified.  I won’t be missing this one.  Here are the full details:

UCTC in Kearns, UT (4095 West 4715) at 1pm (should last 3 hours).  Cost $50. quotes BJ Penn as saying "’Training with Rigan Machado was definitely an experience that changed my life. At one time, I definitely think he was the greatest grappler that walked the earth."

It should be really good.  I will of course blog about it after it is over and share any pictures or video that I am able to get.